The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized that video game addiction is a mental health disorder and included it in the International Classification of Diseases. WHO dubbed this health condition as “gaming disorder.”
“Gaming disorder is characterized by a persistent or repeated addiction to online or offline gaming,” according to WHO.
Among the symptoms that define this behavior, WHO lists the person’s inability to control the frequency, duration, and intensity of gaming sessions, as well as the desire to continue playing despite the negative consequences.
The World Health Organization estimated that 2-3 percent of people who play video games are abusive, but more studies to assess it may be needed.
The growing addiction to technology is a problem denounced by advocacy groups, while the large companies in the sector have begun to address it in recent months.
Big technology companies to tackle technology addiction, to lower the incidence of the newly classified gaming disorder
Google, for example, launched in May a site on digital wellness where people can learn about the right technological habits. Also, last month, Apple announced a series of tools that “help people understand and control the time they spend” on Apple devices.
The director of the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Shekhar Saxena, specified that playing a video game is not harmful by itself, nor is drinking alcohol, something that 40 percent of the world’s population regularly does.
The specialist specified that the problem exists when the use is abusive and changes the behavior of the abuser.
“If the child, teenager or adult who plays video games does it without pause and stops going out with friends, stops doing activities with his or her parents, isolates himself or herself, doesn’t study, doesn’t sleep and just wants to play, those are warning signs that he or she may have an addictive behavior [gaming disorder] and has to seek help,” Shekhar Saxena warned.